Daniel 1:7 Index
"Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed–nego"

"the prince of the eunuch gave names"

  • The new names given to the Hebrew youth signified their adoption into the Babylonian court.... (4BC)
  • Since these names had some reference to the true God and signified some connection with His worship, they were changed to names which had definitions linking them to the heathen divinities and worship of the Chaldeans.... In this record Nebuchadnezzar appears wonderfully free from bigotry. It seems that he took no means to compel his royal captives to change their religion. Provided they had some religion, he seemed to be satisfied, whether it was the religion he professed or not. Although their names had been changed to signify connection with heathen worship, this may have been more to avoid the use of Jewish names by the Chaldeans than to indicate any change of sentiment or practice on the part of those to whom these names were given. (US)
  • The names of Daniel and his companions were changed to names representing Chaldean deities. Great significance was attached to the names given by Hebrew parents to their children. Often these stood for traits of character that the parent desired to see developed in the child. The prince in whose charge the captive youth were placed, “gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” The king did not compel the Hebrew youth to renounce their faith in favor of idolatry, but he hoped to bring this about gradually. By giving them names significant of idolatry, by bringing them daily into close association with idolatrous customs, and under the influence of the seductive rites of heathen worship, he hoped to induce them to renounce the religion of their nation and to unite with the worship of the Babylonians. (PK 480-481)
  • The Babylonian officer had an object in thus changing the names of the Hebrew youth. Anciently the name of a child stood for his character, and the names given to these children were characteristic of what it was expected they would become. They were young in years, and this change in their names it was believed would make an impression on their minds. In a little while, it was hoped, their former religion would be forgotten, and they would become in character and purpose like the Chaldean youth about them. (Youth Instructor, October 29, 1907)
  • To symbolize this transfer of authority [from God to Nebuchadnezzar] they renamed the captives: (JDB 18)
  • To change another's name was considered a mark of authority and dominion, and for this reason masters changed the names of their slaves and kings their conquered princes. (2 Kings 23:34; 24:17). In the case of Daniel and his companions the change was doubtless made also for the purpose of hiding their identity so as to obliterate all national distinctions among the courtiers of the palace. They were all given Babylonian names. another reason for the change was to win them away from their own religion to that of the Chaldeans.... The Babylonians believed that a change of name changed a person's future life and gave him a new start in life.... The change of the names of the four young Hebrews did not affect their characters. They were named after the gods of Babylon but they did not worship them. They maintained their loyalty to the God and the religion of their fathers under circumstances that would cause may of the spineless professed Christian youth of the twentieth century to waver and compromise. The four young men demonstrated that their Hebrew names were the true ones. Jehovah and not Nebuchadnezzar was still Daniel's Judge. (TGB 9, 11)
  • In the context of biblical culture, the act of naming a person or changing the person's name, is, when imposed by a master, meant "to assert one's authority over him." ...the acceptance of a foreign name may have implied the recipient's readiness to serve foreign masters and gods rather than the God of Israel.... It is important to note the Babylonian names given to the young men are also theophoric. Unlike the Hebrew names. which spoke of the true God, the Babylonian names contain names of Babylon's pagan gods. The giving of these new names implied a new allegiance... (ZS 61)
  • Babylon changed their names but could not change their character. (GB 19)
  • The idea of brainwashing is not new to our age. Nebuchadnezzar understood if these young men were going to serve in his court, a complete change would be required. The king set in action the steps that would bring about the needed change. (KC 25)
  • Nebuchadnezzar's Brainwashing Techniques 4 of 6: 4th, Their Hebrew names were a constant reminder that they had been dedicated to God by their parents. The Babylonian names would help them forget about the God of their fathers and turn them to the worship of the gods after which they were now named. (KC 26)

"unto Daniel... Belteshazzar"

  • The best [translation seems to be] "Bel protect his [the king's ] life"(4BC)
  • "Prince of Bel" (US)
  • "may Bel [another name for Marduk, the principle Babylonia divinity] preserve his life" (JBD 18)
  • "Beltis or Baal protects the king" (TGB 9; ZS 56)
  • or "Keeper of the hid treasure of Bel" (TGB 9)
  • "Bel Provides" (KC 13)
  • "Bel protect my life" (GB 19)

"unto... Hananiah... Shadrach"

  • "Worship of the moon" (RAA; GB 19)
  • "Servant of Sin" (the moon god) (US)
  • "order of Aku" (the Sumerian god of the moon) (JBD 18)
  • "The inspiration of the sun" (TGB 9)
  • or "The command of Aku" that is the moon-god (TGB 9)
  • "Exalt Aku" (KC 16)

"unto... Mishael... Meshach"

  • "Devotee of the moon god" (RAA; GB 19)
  • "Who is what Aku is" (Aku being Sumerian equivalent of Sin, the name of the moon god) (US; KC 16)
  • "Who is like Aku" (JBD 18)
  • "Who is as Aku" (TGB 9)
  • or "He who is belongs to the goddess of Shebah (Venus) (TGB 9)
  • or "Who is as Merodach" (TGB 9)

"unto Azariah... Abed-nego"

  • [The best translation] "servant of [the god] Nabu" (4BC)
  • "a servant of Nego or Nebo" (RAA, GB 19)
  • "servant of Nego" (a form of "Nabu," god of wisdom) (JBD 18)
  • "The servant of Nebo" (TGB 9; KC 16)
  • or "Servant of shining fire" which was a Babylonia deity meaning the sun or morning star (TGB 9)